Recipients of the Global Mental Health Council Grant

We are pleased to announce the 2020-2021 Columbia University Global Mental Health Council Grant Program Recipients! 

The 2020-2021 Columbia University Global Mental Health Council Grant Program recipients work in diverse geographical and clinical settings to improve understanding of mental illness and advance mental health interventions for individuals, families and communities.

Congratulations to the following researchers:

1. Ali Giusto, PhD & Milton Wainberg, MD: Leveraging community strengths to implement a task-shifted alcohol use and family engagement treatment for fathers in Kenya

This study aims to identify factors that will inform the implementation of a task-shifted intervention targeting alcohol use and family engagement among fathers with problem drinking in Kenya. Based on identified barriers and facilitators, a new implementation strategy will be developed to test and scale the treatment in a low resource setting. By addressing the burden of alcohol use, this intervention has the potential to lead to improve family relationships and reduce mental distress among fathers, their partners, and their children.

2. Lola Kola, PhD & Kathleen M. Pike, PhD: Responding to the challenges of Adolescent Perinatal Depression with digital video intervention

Mental health services around the world aspire to leverage technology to improve mental health services. This research project will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a digital health intervention to improve mental health outcomes for adolescents with perinatal depression in Nigeria. It will deliver short videos of evidence-based psychosocial interventions to groups of young women in the context of primary care. The research has the potential to improve accessibility and effectiveness of treatment among adolescent mothers, and to demonstrate the efficacy of digital health technologies to enhance the capacity of community care for mental health in low and middle-income countries.

3. María Elena Medina-Mora, PhD & Geoffrey Reed, PhD: Developing a methodology for estimating the Central American migrant population in Mexico and assessing migrants’ experiences and health and mental health status

This research initiative will test a methodology that could for the first time allow an accurate estimation of the size of the migrant population in Mexico as well as their health, including their mental health. While migrants’ wellbeing is often compromised by extreme poverty or violence in their countries of origin and traumatic circumstances experienced during their journey, little is knows about migrants’ health and mental health status, associated problems and needs for services. This research will generate critical information that can be used by the Mexican government to address the needs of this population and prevent additional suffering and disease burden.

4. Sandrine Müller, PhD & Sandra Matz, PhD: The Impact of COVID-19 and Social Distancing on Mental Health Across the World: Using Smartphones for Assessment and Intervention

Globally, widespread concerns exist about the mental health consequences of COVID-19. Drs. Müller and Matz will conduct a research project that leverages a unique dataset gathered from over 980,000 users of the mHealth app Moodpath across multiple countries. They will study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global mental health by conducting both between and within-person analyses and comparing the mood and depression trajectories of 2020 to those observed in the same time period in 2019. Given the global nature of the data, the researchers will be able to investigate mood and depression trajectories as a function of the global pandemic and diverse social policies and pandemic experiences.

We received a large number of high quality grant applications, and we thank all applicants to this program. Please join us in congratulating this year’s grant recipients. Applications for the Council Grant Program will re-open in Summer 2021. Please reach out to [email protected] for any additional questions.


We are grateful to all the members of our Columbia University Council for the Advancement of Research in Global Mental Health. Council Members each make an annual contribution to support this work, and collectively, they are ensuring a better future for mental health globally.